TV tonight: Betty's birthday, 'Pioneers,' 'Emily Owens'
Posted February 4, 2013
Betty White's Second Annual 90th Birthday Special | NBC, 8 ET/PT
One of America's most beloved performers celebrates her 91st birthday with this TV special built around salutes from celebrities liberally spiced, one hopes, with clips from White's performances. Among those gathered to express their affection are Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Hayes, Lily Tomlin, Vicki Lawrence and Katie Couric. Not to mention Bill Clinton, who's a pretty good "get" as a birthday party guest.
Pioneers of Television: Miniseries | PBS, 8 ET/PT
PBS' Pioneers series ends its third season with a look at the genre that used to dominate TV's sweeps periods. Tonight, you can relive those years through the eyes of some of the genre's greatest stars, from Roots actors LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett Jr., Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, John Amos, Georg Stanford Brown and Ed Asner, to the Thorn Birds trio of Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown and the King of the Miniseries himself, Richard Chamberlain. Despite the glow nostalgia may apply, the old-time minis weren't all gems by any means: Even at the genre's height, artistic triumphs such as Roots and Lonesome Dove were the rare exceptions rather than the rule. Still, the format produced some of the best hours of programming TV had to offer. And it still may, if you count such shows as House of Cards, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead as miniseries with sequels.
Emily Owens, M.D. | CW, 9 ET/PT
Mamie Gummer - whose mother, Meryl Streep, scored her first major award with her Emmy for the miniseries Holocaust - takes temporary leave of TV tonight with the series finale of her young-doctor soap. It was neither a very good nor very popular show, but it did have its fans, some of whom are no doubt invested in Gummer's main character and would like to know whether love leads her to Micah (Michael Rady) or Will (Justin Hartley). So give credit to CW for allowing the show to provide an answer.
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